Conservative political and social commentary
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First they came for the communists,
but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists
and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they
came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they
came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller.
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|Antivirus - Not for Computers, for Ourselves - Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 21:41|
Antivirus − Not for Computers, for Ourselves
David C. Stolinsky
Viruses infect computers and cause serious harm. But some viruses attack not computers but human minds. They do similar damage – they interfere with information processing, corrupt memory, and ultimately may cause a crash.
The WeShrinkEm Virus.
The “core” inflation rate understates real inflation, because it omits food and fuel − hardly an insignificant omission. But beyond this, it omits shrinking value. Paper towels now come in a “Big Roll,” which is half the size of the old roll. A laundry detergent became watery, then was “concentrated” in half-sized bottles. In both cases, the price was effectively doubled, but this was not counted in official figures.
Batteries seem to last a shorter time than formerly. A repair man advised us to keep our old washing machine, because new ones don’t last as long. The steel in auto bodies is thinner than formerly. I discovered this accidentally by pressing the fender of my car with my hand, causing a large dent − and you wouldn’t mistake me for a cage fighter.
This insidious virus robs us of value. In addition, it implants the idea that we can’t believe anything the government says. In the short term, this may be helpful in detecting baloney. For example, take the claim that the administration has created “2.4 million new jobs.” But in fact, the unemployment rate remains over 9%, above what it was when Obama took office. In fact, the number of people employed decreased by 2.9%.
In the long term, however, can a nation survive if citizens lose all belief that the government tells the truth, or even can recognize the truth? The worst effect of the WeShinkEm Virus is to reduce public confidence that the government can do anything right.
The WeTeachEm Virus.
This destructive virus is common in schools, from elementary schools to prestigious universities. It implants the idea that Western civilization and Judeo-Christian values are certainly obsolete, and probably harmful.
On Flag Day, school kids no longer participate in programs about our flag. Instead, they are told to march with the flags of the nations their ancestors left because of lack of opportunity or persecution. On Cinco de Mayo, students wave Mexican flags, but they are forbidden to wear American-flag T-shirts because this might be “incendiary.” Really? If wearing an American flag in an American school provokes violence, why would the flag-wearer be punished, and not the violent students?
Students read textbooks that describe their nation as militaristic and genocidal. They learn about slavery, but not about how it was ended. They know Grant only as the man on the fifty-dollar bill, not as the man who led the Union Army to victory. They have no idea that one-third of a million white men and boys died fighting for the Union.
A student who expresses pro-America or pro-military views may be ridiculed and marked down. Students learn to regurgitate the professor’s half-baked, leftist opinions in order to get good grades. If they condemn Republicans but have a good word to say about Fidel or Hugo, their chance for an “A” improves.
The virus implants anti-democratic, elitist, leftist notions that may be hard to eradicate in later life. It masquerades as “facts” imparted by impartial scholars. But in reality, it spreads the opinions of self-anointed, biased poseurs − who sit and theorize about what is wrong with the people who actually do things.
The WePreachEm Virus.
This virus is particularly deceptive. It appears to teach nonviolence and love for all the peoples of the earth. But in fact, it teaches apathy and indifference to human suffering. It provides an excuse to stand by idly while our neighbor’s life is in danger, which the Bible forbids.
If you doubt this, go to a “mainstream” Protestant church, a “modern” Catholic church, or a Reform Jewish temple. Close your eyes and listen to the sermon. You’ll have to open them again to remind yourself that you’re in a house of worship rather than a Democratic Party rally.
Some time ago I attended two funerals. Both featured a eulogy that included nasty remarks about President Bush. This illustrates a characteristic of leftists. They believe that politics should seep into every aspect of life. You can’t see a film or TV show, have a lunchtime conversation, go to church, or even attend a funeral without getting a dose of leftist propaganda. That’s because leftists don’t see this as intruding into religion. To them, leftism is their religion.
The virus implants the notion that criminals have rights, but victims don’t. It implants the idea that terrorists have rights, but peace-loving citizens don’t. It implants the perception that foreign tyrants are to be admired − if they are anti-American. It implants the opinion that foreign customs and beliefs must be respected − if they contradict American or Judeo-Christian values.
This 180-degree reversal of the moral compass may be especially hard to eradicate. The virus masquerades in a moral or even religious disguise, so our mental antivirus may not detect it.
The TheyOweUs Virus.
This virus is easy to acquire, because it goes so well with our natural tendency to blame anyone but ourselves for our problems. Domestically, this virus infects political and economic thought. Are some people poor? It must be because other people are rich. Of course, the large majority of immigrants arrived in this country poor and faced daunting obstacles. How did they create a rich and powerful nation? By robbing other immigrants, who were equally poor? No, by working hard to create wealth where there was none.
We see a similar process abroad. Are some nations poor? It must be because America is rich. But our nation did not come onto the world stage until the 20th century. Were these other nations rich before we came along? No, they were even poorer than they are now.
And now that the economy is stumbling, we may see the final disproof of this notion. If America becomes poor, other nations will not become rich. No, will they grow even poorer − without the purchasing power of Americans to buy their exports, without American inventions to spark their economies, and without the U.S. Navy to keep trade routes open. Pirates are already preying on merchant shipping in key trade routes off the horn of Africa and in the South China Sea. (Remember the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama?)
The prime example of this virus is extremist Islam. Are most Muslim nations poor, some despite billions in oil revenue? Are all Muslim nations undemocratic, ranging from authoritarian to tyrannical? It must be the fault of America, which is rich and free. But instead of imitating the qualities that made us rich and free, extremist Muslims try to tear us down to their level. If we become as poor and unfree as they are, there would be no more cause for envy. But this perversion of “equality” would benefit no one, least of all Muslims themselves.
This virus implants terribly destructive seeds of jealousy and hatred. The results vary from demands for money, to extreme ingratitude for our help, to bombs in subway trains and buses – to collapsing office towers with clouds of smoke and dust so huge that they could be seen from space.
Destructive viruses don’t affect only computers. They can also affect us. We need effective antivirus protection in the form of accurate information and firm ethical principles. Only then will we have a chance to detect and combat these harmful influences.
A prior version of this article appeared on Aug. 4, 2005. Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.